This article evaluates the potential of a range of stem cells in cardiac tissue regeneration following a heart attack. Following an initial review of relevant research, some of the main biological mechanisms involved in cardiac tissue regeneration are presented, including:
- the role of transcription factors, such as oxytocin and c-kit and paracrine transcription factors;
- studies on zebra fish that display mechanisms such as the regnerative role of cardionogen 1, 2- and 3- in reversing the effect of induced cardiac phenotypes that normally regulate heart development;
- delivery and engraftment mechanisms, including viral and plasmid vectors, electrical stimulation and nantoechnology.
The results of in vitro and in vivo experiments are reported that have shown the clinical potential of stem cells as well as their immunological and tumorgenic risks. At the time of writing (2012), while the clinical evidence is limited, complex therapeutic models are proposed for future development in the field.